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Colorado Corporal Punishment in Public Schools Laws

Corporal or physical punishment in public schools used to be commonplace. Today, it's legal, but exceedingly rare for corporal punishment to be used in the United States. Overtime, Colorado has also decreased its use of corporal punishment. In time, the people or legislators of Colorado may join 31 other states in permanently outlaw this practice.

In 2000, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) estimated 260 students were physically punished. Of those students, 19 were boys and 241 were girls, a huge disparity between the genders. In comparison, in 2010, OCR found no children in Colorado were subjected to physical discipline. Despite this, as corporal punishment is still legal it’s possible more children will be punished physically in the future, unless it’s outlawed by the people via the initiative process or legislators by enacting a new bill to prohibit the practice.

The following table outlines some of the main laws on corporal punishment in public schools in Colorado.

Code Section Colorado Revised Statutes Section 27-10.5-115: Right to Humane Care and Treatment (Persons with Disabilities)

12 Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR) 2509-8, Section 7.702.66: Discipline and 7.712.55 (Child Care Facilities), 7.713.22: Youth Rights (Secure Residential Treatment Facilities), 7.715.46: Discipline (Shelters)
What is Prohibited? No school or other service provider or caregiver of a student with a disability is permitted to use corporal punishment or physically restraint (for the purposes of discipline) the child with a disability. The use of seclusion, basically placing the child with a disability in a room by themselves to punish them, is also prohibited.

Corporal punishment is also prohibited in child care facilities, secure residential treatment facilities, foster homes, shelters, and the like.

No statutory provisions exist outlawing or permitting corporal punishment of traditional public school students.
Punishment Allowed Yes, it’s technically legal to use physical punishment, such as paddling in public schools in Colorado. In practice, it’s almost never done.
Circumstances Allowable As long as the child doesn’t have a disability and it’s being done in a public school by an employee (not a bullying instance by another child), than the corporal punishment could be allowed.

Note: State laws are changing all the time, it’s important to confirm the accuracy of any state laws you are researching.

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